In-Process 18th December 18

Welcome to the last In-Process for 2018!

What a year it has been! While it has been a busy year, that doesn’t mean we’re letting it end quietly. The big news today is the release of NVDA 2018.4.

NVDA 2018.4

Highlights of this release include performance improvements in recent Mozilla Firefox versions, announcement of emojis with all synthesizers, reporting of replied/forwarded status in Outlook, reporting the distance of the cursor to the edge of a Microsoft Word page, and many bug fixes.

Download NVDA 2018.4 from the official downloads page or read the full what’s new here.


One of the new features is announcement of emojis with all synthesizers. This has prompted a few questions from people on emoji support.

So, what are emojis? Back in the olden days, when I was young, and dinosaurs roamed the earth, electronic messaging such as email, SMS or instant messaging (remember ICQ?) only allowed you to send ASCII text – characters you could type on the keyboard. This gave rise to “emoticons”, such as the smiley 🙂 which allowed some emotion to be conveyed. Emoticons have evolved into emojis. Emojis are more complex images which can behave in many ways like a regular text character. The smiley is available, as are more complex emoji such as coffee, fire trucks, and mountain biking.

And in an ironic twist, the smiley I write with a colon, hyphen and close parenthesis gets rendered as an emoji, but the emojis I inserted do not! So, a lesson there that emojis can be both fun and informative, but there is no guarantee they work everywhere, so if you do use them, try not to rely on them as the only way of conveying information.

Various programs and websites support emojis on all platforms. For those running Windows 10, there is a built-in emoji input panel in the OS itself. To use Windows 10’s emoji input panel, press either WINDOWS+. or WINDOWS+; (WINDOWS key with either full-stop / period or semi-colon). From here you can do three things: 1) Use the arrow keys to select an emoji from the current screen. The panel is a grid, 8 columns wide by as many rows as needed. Press ENTER to insert the currently selected emoji into your document or edit box etc. 2) Press TAB to move to the categories, then use the ARROWs to select a category and ENTER to open it. Then press TAB to move to the emoji in that category and see option 1 above. 3) Type something to describe the emoji you are looking for, eg “cake”, “train”, or “christmas tree”. Then, use the arrows to find the emoji you want from those which match what you have typed so far.

You can also press ESCAPE to close the emoji input panel.

Emojis should work in most programs and many websites. There are some places and older programs which only accept plain text. If you try to insert an emoji and return from the emoji panel to find nothing has been inserted, you may not be able to use emojis in that program.

When reading, NVDA treats emojis as part of the text. They are read whenever NVDA’s punctuation level is set to “Some”, “Most” or “All”. You can change NVDA’s punctuation level on the fly by pressing NVDA+p. You can also change punctuation level from the “speech settings” options. Press NVDA+control+v, then using TAB to move to the “Punctuation/Symbol level” option.

New Year break

NV Access is winding down for the Christmas and New Year break. I (Quentin) am finishing Wednesday 19th and returning Monday 14th January. Over the break, do please keep in contact. Continue filing and commenting on GitHub Issues, engaging on Twitter and Facebook, and emailing us with any issues or comments. We’ll check on things periodically over the break and reply to you when we are back in January, if not before.

We’d like to thank each and every one of you for your support this year and for helping to make NVDA the great success it is. For those who celebrate it, we wish you a very happy and holy Christmas. To everyone, may you have a very joyous and safe New Year, and on to a wonderful 2019!